Nevada State Athletic Commission Will No Longer Sanction Fighters for Marijuana

By Tristen Critchfield Jul 7, 2021

Fighters competing in Nevada will no longer be punished for testing positive for marijuana.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove marijuana from the list of banned substances in the state. As a result, fighters will no longer face sanctions for a positive test.

“We should be always at the forefront of these issues, and I believe it’s warranted and merited since it is legal in this state,” NSAC chairman Stephen Cloobeck said. “I think we need to jump forward being the leader as we’ve always been.”

The new rule will take effect immediately, but fighters previously facing punishment for positive marijuana tests will not be exempt. The NSAC will continue to test athletes for marijuana for data collection purposes for the next six months, and the commission will then decide if it will continue collecting data.

Two fighters were suspended by the NSAC on Wednesday for positive marijuana tests. Gillian Robertson was suspended four and a half months retroactive to March 27 and fined $2,000, while Misha Cirkunov was suspened six months retroactive to March 13 and fined $4,000.

In the past, the NAC would suspend fighters up to nine months and be fined a percentage of their purse for positive marijuana tests in-competition above the allowable threshold of 150 ng/ml. It notably suspended Nick Diaz for five years for multiple positive tests before reducing that sanction to a year and a half following an appeal process.

The NAC ruling comes on the heels of the Florida Boxing Commission voting to remove marijuana from its prohibited substance list in May. Earlier this year, USADA and the UFC change the promotion’s anti-doping policy so that fighters who test positive for marijuana, no matter the level, would not be found in violation of the policy.

The NAC’s ruling was met with praise from UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky.

“How about that! NSAC no longer sanctioning for marijuana. Crazy that in my tenure with UFC I've seen NSAC try to suspend Nick Diaz for life for marijuana, to this. Big credit to Exec Director Bob Bennett for spearheading this change. Just don't show up to fight impaired!

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